The African continent is a leader in the production of cashew apple and cashew nuts, providing most of the world’s supply in recent years. The cashew value chain, however, faces many of the same challenges as other crops in these countries, such as poor access to information, poor technical training and poor funding options. These structural constraints make the African cashew value chain less competitive, although it has great potential for improvement in several areas. Guinea-Bissau has immense potential for developing the cashew apple and cashew nut markets but suffers from similar structural constraints as other countries in the region. Agriculture in Guinea-Bissau is dominated by family farming. Subsistence agriculture is responsible for 90 per cent of the country's food production. Also cultivated mainly by small-scale farmers, cashew is the main source of income.
Towards a Solution
The initiative seeks, through Brazil-Guinea-Bissau cooperation in technology, to contribute to employment and income generation in the West African country mainly by diversifying the supply of the processing products of cashew apple and other fruits. The implementation of the project on the stalk processing plant for cashew and other tropical fruits in Guinea-Bissau improves the ways in which to produce products from those fruits in the country, ensuring food security and adding value to agricultural production.
With regard to the methodology, the Cashew and Other Tropical Fruits Stalk Processing Plant project has implementation phases that correspond to specific activities in education, training, technology transfer and institutional strengthening. The project had four stages: (a) implementing a didactic processing unit for the cashew stalk at the Cashew Promotion Centre; (b) providing technical training in agro-industrial practices in the processing of the cashew stalk; (c) supporting the operation and operationalization of the Didactic Processing Unit; and (d) supporting the development of teaching materials and norms and standards for the identity and quality of products resulting from the industrialization of the cashew stalk.
As outcomes, the initiative, with the participation of 14 Brazilian professionals, directly benefited 34 producers and associate technicians of Guinea-Bissau. According to official information from the Government of Brazil, the bilateral cooperation with Guinea-Bissau reached $2.2 million, of which the Government of Brazil contributed $1.8 million, to finance projects. To achieve its specific goals, the project enabled the implementation of a cashew peduncle-processing didactic unit, technical training in agro-industrial practices of cashew peduncle processing, the operation of the equipment and the elaboration of didactic material, and the elaboration of norms and standards of identity and quality of the products resulting from the industrialization of the cashew stalk.
Aligned with the SDGs, Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the Community of Portuguese‑speaking Countries and inserted into the Brazilian foreign policy agenda, ABC’s project Implementation of Cashew and Other Tropical Fruits Stalk Processing Plant in Guinea-Bissau is an example of a good practice involving two countries with similar natural conditions but with contrasting access to technology. Within a broader South-South cooperation scope, this good practice is sustainable and replicable with due political and economic commitment, for it involves the intertwining of the agendas and strategies of national governments in a joint effort to promote educational advancement and business-making opportunities.